Lady ‘Bows open Big West Conference play with win at UC-Davis

Brittany Hitchcock

The University of Hawai’i softball team opened the 2016 Big West Conference season with a 4-1 win over UC Davis at La Rue Field on Friday afternoon. The Rainbow Wahine evened their overall record to 17-17 while improving to 1-0 in conference, while the Aggies fell to 11-17 and 0-1 in the BWC. UH scored all four of its runs in a fourth inning rally, and that’s all the offense Brittany Hitchcock would need to earn the complete-game win for the ‘Bows.

Hitchcock held the Aggies hitless throught the first three innings, before giving up a single in the bottom of the fourth. For the game, she scattered six hits and allowed one run with a walk and five strike outs in seven innings pitched.  Hitchcock improved her record to 7-8 overall and 1-0 in the Big West.

In the top of the second, UH tried to get things going offensively. Rachel Lack started the inning by reaching on a fielding error on the third baseman. Ulu Matagiese followed with a single to put runners at first and second with no outs. Rachael Turner then put down a sacrifice bunt to push both runners into scoring position, but the Aggies then turned a line-out-double-play to thwart the Rainbow Wahine’s rally.

Hawai’i got on the scoreboard first in the top of the fourth. Keiki Carlos led off by drawing a walk. Heather Morales then drilled a double over the centerfielder to put both runners into scoring position. Rachel Lack then ripped an RBI-single down the leftfield line to score Carlos and later Turner hit a sacrifice fly to centerfield to drive in pinch runner Sarah McAndrew from third for a 2-0 lead. Breana Ojala then came through with a clutch, two-out, two-RBI single through the leftside of the infield to score both Lack and Tayana Mata (who had reached on an infield single) for a 4-0 lead after three-and-a-half innings.

In the bottom of the fifth, the Aggies got their offense going. Christina Guidry laced a double to the right-centerfield gap to start things off. After a swinging strike out, Brianna Warner hit a single up the middle to put runners at first and third.  Warner put pressure on UH’s defense by stealing second to put both runners in scoring position. But, Hitchcock settled down to fan her second opposing batter of the inning and then got the final out on a ground out to third to stymie the Aggie effort.

The Aggies broke through on the scoreboard in the bottom of the sixth. Taiya McInnes led off with a single to second and moved to second on a wild pitch. Meghan Bradbury then reached on a fielding error on the shortstop to put runners at the corners with no outs. Ashley Lotoszynski followed by hitting into a fielder’s choice in which Bradbury was thrown out by Carlos in right at second base which allowed McInnes to score from third. Kelly Zboralske kept things going with a single to left to put runners at first and second. But Hitchcock ended the frame with a pop out to right and a swinging strike out. UH led 4-1 after six complete innings.

Andrea Reynolds suffered the loss for UC Davis, dropping her record to 3-8 overall and 0-1 in conference. She gave up four runs on six hits with a walk and a strike out. Sara Cadona came in relief and snuffed out the Rainbows’ offensive attack, allowing just one hit in 3.1 innings of work. She had a walk and a strike out as well.

Both teams will square off on Saturday in a series-ending doubleheader starting at 1:00 pm (PT) at La Rue Field in Davis, Calif.

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